The Detroit Tigers continued their prep-heavy approach in the 2023 MLB Draft with the selection of 3B Carson Rucker in the fourth round. That means four of the first five picks under new ownership are from the high school ranks.
Rucker ranks 132nd among draft prospects for MLB Pipeline. He has a physical swing with a promise of power. His raw power is rated as a plus asset. While given average grades across the board on MLB Pipeline, he did post a plus run time while participating at a PBR showcase.
The Tigers will need to sign the 6-foot-2-inch, 195-pound infielder away from a Tennessee commitment. He does come from a baseball family, his older brother Jake was drafted by the Minnesota Twins back in 2021.
With five picks under their belt, it looks like prep bats might win the day. So far four of the picks are high school hitters, to go along with the lone high school pitcher, Paul Wilson. That means the top of this draft will provide an end-of-season spark to the lower minors as these players sign with the team.
Moving forward Rucker has the skills to remain at third. His carrying tool at the plate is power thanks to his long levers. That will also lead to swings and misses. He’ll likely get some time on the Complex to end this season to show what he can do in the professional ranks. If he performs, he might get a look at Single-A. It’s worth noting that Scott Harris has stated they want hitters who can control the zone, which may hint at another attribute for Rucker.
With all the high school picks early in the MLB Draft the new front office will have plenty of opportunity to put their development strategies in place and prove their chops in growing talent within the organization.
The Tigers have 16 more picks. Follow along on MLB.com.